'You hit me, I hit you' says Latina teacher accused of throwing autistic child into wall
The more I hear about abusive and irresponsible teachers who hurt their students instead of lovingly guiding them, the more scared I am to send my children to school. This time around a Latina teacher's aide has been jailed after she threw an autistic elementary school student into a wall. According to the arrest report, Jacqueline Zuniga got angry when the autistic boy she was working with started pinching and hitting her. Another teacher heard Zuniga say, "You hit me, I hit you," as she bent the child's fingers backward.
Later, when the boy was laying down in front of the teacher's aide, she grabbed him by the leg and arm and threw him about five feet away into a wall.
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Although the boy was not seriously injured, he did lay motionless for about 30 second and his head was bruised. Thankfully, another teacher's aide reported the abuse to school administrators who moved Zuniga, a mother of two, to a non-classroom position. Last Friday, she was charged with child abuse, jailed and has been suspended from Pine Ridge Elementary school in Florida without pay.
It's undeniable that Zuniga's actions were despicable and it sounds to me like she behaved like a child instead of the adult in charge of the kids. In fact, I can't believe that her supposed explanation for what she did is that she wasn't hit by her parents, so she wasn't going to allow this boy to hit her. At least, that's what eyewitnesses heard her say.
I'm not saying that students should be allowed to hit their teachers, but we're talking about an autistic boy who clearly has some issues with this particular caretaker of his. I'm sure there must be other ways to deal with special needs kids who get violent, but tossing them against a wall is surely not one of them.
Image via Police handout